Coyote Blog posts word of a novel scam the State of California is running these days: sending “refund” checks, then demanding the money back with usurious penalties and interest charges months later (he estimated at 97% APR). He got a $81 “refund” and 3 months later they now want it back… plus $15:
In September, the State of California sent me a check for $81 as a tax refund. I did not file for the refund — they sent the check out of the blue. Since no one human being is smart enough to keep up with all the taxes and user fee formulas in California, I just accepted it, cashed the check and forgot about it. This refund was for my unemployment taxes, and I just assumed my rate had changed slightly leading to a refund.
Then, in December, the State of California sent me a notice that the $81 was in error, and I needed to send it back.
He’s right about the fraud part of it:
[If] I as a company was running this scam with consumers, sending them refund checks and then asking for the money back 3 months later with interest and penalties,I would be going to jail, would I not?
I would think in a libertarian-run government, there’d be accountibility at the highest levels of whatever bureacracy for this kind of reverse-tax-fraud. That is if we allowed these kinds of institutions to continue to exist in the first place.